More from Mark in Sydney... We're eating preserved fruits here in the States now, but here are some tips for putting them up for next winter. These tips center around using alcohol to preserve fruits of various types. Like brandied peaches? Then pay attention here... If you have an abundance of fresh fruit, try preserving some in alcohol for a very special treat, suggests Jill Chinner.
Fruits suitable for bottling In alcohol are peaches, apricots, pears, cherries, figs, dried fruits, grapes and Kiwi fruit. First, make a syrup as you would for preserving. Choose from light, medium or heavy, depending on your sweetness of tooth. You can use white, brown or raw sugar or substitute honey according to taste.
Light syrup: one cup sugar to three cups water. Medium syrup: one cup sugar to two cups water. Heavy syrup: one cup sugar to one cup water.
Dissolve sugar in water and simmer gently for five minutes; allow to cool.
To make a liqueur syrup, use equal quantities of your choice of liqueur or spirits and sugar syrup (see suggested combinations below).
Next, prepare your fruit, again as you would for preserving. Peaches: peel, stone and cut in sections.
Apricots: stone and cut in halves. Grapes: wash and remove stems. Kiwi fruit: peel and cut lengthways. Cherries: remove stones and stems.
Pears: peel, core and cut in quarters.
To each two litres of light or medium syrup, add five grams of citric acid. Figs: wash and remove stems. To each one litre of light or medium syrup add five grams of citric acid.
Dried fruits: Cover with cold water and stand overnight. Cook gently, uncovered, until plumped. Drain. Reserve liquid to make a light syrup. Then, place fruit in clean preserving jars. Pour over sugar/liqueur (or just sugar) syrup, seal and place in preserver. See preserver instruction book for cooking times.
Peaches: with brandy, Marsala, rum or vodka. Apricots: with brandy, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, rum or vodka. Grapes: Green ginger wine, white wine or port (for black grapes only). Kiwi fruit: creme de menthe. Pears: creme de menthe or brandy. Figs: port or brandy.
Cherries: kirsch or brandy. Dried fruits: brandy or rum. Or use your imagination to make up other combinations.
Some books to consult:
An Australian Country Harvest Cookbook by Gillian Painter (Simon & Schuster, $39.95).
Preserving Fruits and Vegetables Made Easy by T. Flower (Little Hers Press, $5.95).
Preserving Fruits and Vegetables (Southern Media Corporation, $9.95).
Book of Jams, Pickles and Chutneys by D. Mabey (Penguin, $9.99).
Jams and Marmalades (Weldon Publishing, $8.95).
Jams, Jellies and Marmalades by M. O'Sullivan (Angus and Robertson, (Angus and Robertson, $14.95).
From "Raw Materials" by Meryl Constance, Sydney Morning Herald, 12/15/92.
Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; February 17 1993.
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